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i i had pain in my abdomen...g. it just wouldn't go away. i was spotting, but i had already gone through menopause. these symptoms may be nothing... but they could be early warning signs of a gynecologic cancer, such as cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer. feeling bloated for no reason. that's what i remember. seeing my doctor probably saved my life. warning signs are not the same for everyone. if you think something's wrong... see your doctor. ask about gynecologic cancer. and get the inside knowledge. welcome back. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. here's what's happening this hour. on "meet the press" this hour, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu down playing the strains on his relationship with president obama. he also believes israel and the united states can work together
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to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons. >> is israel closer to taking action into its own hands? >> we always reserve the right to act, but i think if we are able to coordinate together a common position, we increase the chances that neither one of us will have to act. meanwhile, the obama administration today pushing back against prime minister netanya netanyahu's statement that iran is even close to making enriched uranium for weapons. >> they're not there yelt. they are not there yet. our assessment is, and we share this regularly with our israeli counterparts in the intelligence and defense community, that there is time and space for the pressure we are mounting, which is unprecedented in terms of sanctions to still yield results. this is not imminent. turning to the campaign trail now. mitt romney had an event scheduled for colorado later today. it was his only campaign event of the weekend. that event canceled after an unrelated incident at pueblo's
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airport. he will be in los angeles tomorrow. meanwhile, president obama starts with a rally in ohio tomorrow. later in the week, he will be in new york, florida, virginia, and louisiana. he will also, as we just mentioned a few moments ago, be traveling to wisconsin saturday. we'll have more on these stories over the next hour. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu making the rounds on this morning's political shows. the question that kept coming up, is president obama doing enough to back israel and monitor iran? t netanyahu tried to stay out of american politics but stressed someone has to draw a line restricting iran's nuclear ambitions. >> i think as they get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of weapons-grade material -- and they're very close. they're about six months away. i think you have to place that red line before them now.
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>> nbc's mike vicarus standing by for us now. does the white house hear those words as a shoutout today? >> i think there's no question that there's been tension between these two leaders, president obama and prime minister netanyahu. but there are things they agree on. first of all, they agree that iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. no containment, not a la the cold war, for example, where the soviet union and other countries had nukes but they were contained. it has to be stopped before they have the capability of building that weapon. they disagree, as you heard the ambassador say, on how far along iran is on that program. prime minister netanyahu has made very little secret of the fact that he wants the united states to be tougher on iran rhetorically, to join in israel in putting down that so-called red line that iran cannot cross in developing that nuclear
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weapon. essentially, what the disagreement is here, craig, is netanyahu wants president obama to rattle the saber a little louder than he's rattling it right now against iran. >> mike from the white house, thank you. >> okay. developing news now in afghanistan, where american troops, four american troops were killed this morning when an afghan police officer opened fire on nato troops at a check point in a southern province there. this, of course, coming one day after another suspected insider attack. also, two u.s. marines were killed friday at the british airfield in southwestern afghanistan. the insurgents involved in friday's attack wore u.s. army uniforms and suicide vests, indicating an elaborated, coordinated attack. >> reporter: good evening there, craig. it was a very deadly weekend
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here in afghanistan. both nato service members as well as civilian lives lost today. there was also a nato air strike that killed eight afghan women as they were trying to gather wood for the coming winter. they were mistaken for insurgent fighters. the nato called in an air strike killing them. they've apologized for the incident, but obviously president karzai is upset here. also a deadly weekend when it comes to nato service members. two members were killed on friday during an elaborate attack when the taliban were able to breach the perimeter of the air base. it's stunning that the taliban, 15 fighters, were able to do that, killing two u.s. marines and destroying aircraft on that base. then yesterday, two british soldiers were killed by an afghan police officer who turned their gun on them. today, four americans also died in the same way when an afghan police officer -- and it seems they may have been duped. according to a local afghan
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official, they say that at a check post the afghan police said they were under attack. they called the americans for help. when the americans came, they say the afghans then turned their weapon on them. insider attacks, as they're known, has become one of the deadliest incidents for nato forces here in afghanistan. in fact, this year alone, 51 people have died in those type of attacks, up from last year where 35 people died in the entire year of 2011. >> i want to talk to you about those green and blue attacks for just a moment. today, marking as we both mentioned the 51st death. 51 deaths so far this year. it's only september. what are both afghan officials and the pentagon, what are they doing to prevent these attacks? >> reporter: that's an actually interesting question, craig. the afghan ministry of defense here, ministry of interiors say that they're looking over these recruits, that these people within the afghan security
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forces, the people they've allowed come in, we have to remember this was about quantity not quality. both nato an the afghans wanted to surge the troops up to over 300,000 afghan troops. they obviously didn't do the vetting process very well. so now nato is taking other measures, including arming more and more americans on their base to be very wary of the afghans that they're working with side by side. afghans they're supposed to trust, but they don't know if they can. craig. >> take care of yourself. thank you so much for your fine reporting, as always. we are going to turn back to politics now and focus on the political tight rope, all the turmoil in the middle east is forcing president obama to walk. and the potential pitfalls that may await as well. i want to bring in doug wilson, former assistant secretary of public affairs, now a national security advisor for the obama
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administration. we were talking about prime minister netanyahu's comments as he called for a red line to be drawn, restricting iran's nuclear actions. is this something that should be up for discussion? >> i think talking about red lines is actually a red herring. there is no daylight between the united states and israel when it comes to the fact that we intend to prevent iran from making a nuclear weapon. this is not a matter of containment. we do share intelligence. we consult with the the israelis. they're our best friends in the middle east. we have no intention of having iran obtain a nuclear weapon. >> i want you to take a listen to something that howard dean said maybe about two hours ago this is howard dean talking about the relationship between the president and the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> i think my guess is the personal relationship between
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netanyahu and president obama is not all that good. i think most of that has to do with with president obama. if you look back at our relationship with israel, which is historically incredibly strong and remains strong. i mean, this is really a personality thing. >> i should mention here that governor dean did just send out a tweet not too long ago saying, quote, most of the difficulty between us and israel is due to netanyahu. i simply misspoke. the interview makes clear why. that's him tweeting making sure nobody says he was blaming the president, that clarification. dean saying there still seem to be strains in the relationship between the president and the prime minister. how would you characterize their relationship? >> the president of the united states, from my understanding, recently spoke as recently as a couple days ago in an hour-long conversation with netanyahu. the united states has made very clear that israel is its major ally in the middle east. we have been close friends for
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more than 60 years. the survival and security of both countries is important to both countries. the united states will not only stand behind israel, but there's no daylight between us on iran and other issues. >> taking a look at the unrest in the middle east on the whole, this is a quote from "the new york times" today. mr. obama's advisers say they may have to consider scaling back diplomatic activity in the area. tell me about that. >> we're seeing a profound time of transformation in the middle east. this is years and years in development. it's as profound a transformation that took place with the end of the ottoman empire years ago. we're seeing extremists as well as moderates mixed together. the very unfortunate film that went viral throughout the middle east just added fuel to the fire. but i do have to say that the
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ambassador who died, chris stevens, was an example of the need to engage, to be engaged in the middle east. he was a great friend of the libyan people. he gave his life for his friends. i think that engagement and continued engagement will be the characteristic of this administration. regardless of whether in the short term or not for security reasons there may be a little less or more. over the long term it's in our best interest. >> doug wilson, appreciate your time. national security adviser for the obama campaign there. still to come here, a former witch. that's right, former witch, may try for a second time to win a spot on capitol hill. we will tell you who, although you've probably guess who had we're talking about. then coming up later, the latest on the teacher strike in chicago. the teachers union meeting right now. can we expect a resolution this hour? we will bring you the very latest from the windy city. i have a cold, and i took nyquil,
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developing right now, delegates from the powerful chicago teachers union are meeting behind closed doors as we speak. it has become completely unclear if they'll actually vote to end that week-long teacher strike in chicago. in just the last few hours there, our affiliate wmaq has learned that delegates could defy union leadership and vote no to the teacher contract, or they might decide not to vote at all, we're hearing. very fluid situation here. what are you hearing? what's happening right now behind closed doors?
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>> what we understand is that the 700-member delegates, these are representatives of this 29,000 chicago teacher union, they are meeting with the negotiating team. they're getting details of what was hammered out in this contract agreement. there is some concern that people are saying that we're pushing it up against ros rosh hashana, and some members of the jewish faith feel rushed to come to a decision. some don't feel they don't like what's been hammered out in the details. a couple things could happen. that delegation could vote to suspend the strike, get the kid back to school on monday, and continue the negotiations. they could vote to end the strike altogether and get the kids back to school on monday. or they could vote to not vote. the negotiations would continue. >> and the 350,000 students in the third largest school
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district in this country wait in the balance. >> their anxious parents would also be waiting trying to figure out how that scramble would get under way on monday. >> for folks who haven't been following this story as closely as we have, in a nutshell, what's all this about? >> it's all about job security. teach who are are fighting to make certain that their evaluation was not tied so much to the performance of students on standardized tests. it's a question of percentages. would it be 30, 40, or even higher in terms of evaluating a teacher? and they wanted to have some say in terms of a rehiring policy if teachers were laid off. there's talk that there could be upwards of 80 schools shut down in chicago be they low performing or underpolllated schools. that meaning teachers would be out of work. who's going to put those teachers back to work? the union wanted to have some
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say. those have been two of the biggest stumbling blocks. >> thanks as always, my friend. appreciate that. >> you're welcome. on the political front now. the chicago strike has pitted democrat against democrat. mayor rahm emanuel, president obama's former chief of staff, has come down hard on the union there. democratic mayors in los angeles and some other cities are also seen as picking away at some benefits of these public unions. my next guest writes that chicago is embroiled in a democratic civil war. herald meierson is editor at large and a columnist for "the washington post". good afternoon. >> good afternoon to you. >> you write we're seeing more here than a critical battle over education. you say this is between democratic management and democratic unions. shouldn't there be more of a shared goal between these two
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ideal logical, similar groups? >> you would think so. you would hope so. when the union has been able -- the teachers union in particular -- has been able to reach those accommodations in some cities. new haven, connecticut, is a very good example. but this comes at a time when cities and states are under major financial pressure. on the one hand they have a lot of the elite part of the business community that is hostile to unions, including public sector unions, advising these mayors that this is the way to go. and you have the unions pushing back. i think part of the significance of the chicago strike is that teachers unions have been roundly demonized, including by people who consider themselves liberals. and this is the first time they've really said, hey, we are as much, you know, the victims of underfunding public schools, and lord knows that's the case in chicago, as the kids themselves.
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you know, we're not going to take this anymore. you're seeing that kind of conflict in chicago, but it has nationwide implications. >> there really has over the past couple years, there seems to be a general backlash. i use backlash for lack of a better word right now. but there seems to be a bit of a backlash against unions in this country that wasn't the case several years ago. do you think this is something we're going to consider to see play out over the next few years? you think this is just a phase? >> well, the irony is that unions have never been weaker in this country. they only represent a little under 7% of private sector workers, meaning the collective bargaining for most americans is utterly extinct, which is one reason why working class incomes have been stuck for several decades. but there's an organized right-wing offensive, and liberals haven't really gotten themselves together. in part, i think -- during the decades of sort of broadly shared prosperity in this country, in the '50s and '60s and '70s, there were all other
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kinds of battles going on towards which liberals turned their attention. battle for gender equity and so on. unions kind of slid from the liberal conscienceness. now there's a price to pay. now the white working class, which was formerly democratic, suspect anymore because they're no longer in unions, and union membership really does affect voting behavior. i think there has to be a liberal refocus on this if there's going to be any kind of, a, lasting democratic majority and, b, broadly shared prosperity, which is partly what the democrats' calling card is. >> herald, thank you so much for your insight on this sunday afternoon. do appreciate you. >> thank you. still to come, we're going to look at how middle east and american politics intertwine and what that means for the current leaders of israel and america. first, though, there's a whole lot of olympic bling running around the white house the other day in case you missed it. we'll see what the gold medal
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my wife picked out the shoes. here's your fix of campaign trail mix this afternoon. sat night live did not miss an opportunity to mock all the singing that the candidates have done. ♪ i'm so in love with you that was fun, right? so do you want that or this? ♪ e-i-e-i-o how about that? that was "old mcdonald had a
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farm." pretty groovy song, huh? sorry i didn't know all the animal noises. olympic and paralympic athletes are still basking in the glow of their time at the white house this weekend. they're tweeting about the experience. michael phelps tweeting "thank you" to the president. fencer tim moorehouse sent out a picture. he also wrote, michelle obama and i sharing a moment, such an amazing trip to the white house. and at the conservative values voter summit this weekend, rick santorum once again taking a shot at the media and the elite saying they're against conservatives. >> we will never have the elite, smart people on our side because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do. so our colleges and universities, they're not going to be on our side. >> and she's back. >> i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you've heard.
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i'm you. >> christine o'donnell, yes, she's considering running again in 2014, challenging democratic delaware senator chris coons again. she said she owes it to her supporters to consider it. imagine the ads. coming up, israel's prime minister claiming he's not getting involved in american politic, but does his timing suggest otherwise? we're going to talk about that and a whole lot more with our brain trust. setting up the ns starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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♪ [ female announcer ] one drop of ultra dawn has twice the everyday grease cleaning ingredients of one drop of the leading non-concentrated brand... ♪ [ crowd cheering ] ...to clean 2x more greasy dishes. dawn does more. so it's not a chore. i'm craig melvin. here's a look at some of the top stories making news right now. delegates from the chicago teachers union are meeting as we speak. they could vote in afternoon on the agreement hammered out over the past week. if they vote to suspend the strike, 350,000 chicago public school students could be back in class tomorrow morning. meanwhile n southern afghanistan, a local police officer turned his gun on nato troops killing four people
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there. and the president of libya says 50 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi last week. that's the attack, of course, that left four americans dead, including the u.s. ambassador to libya. this morning israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu was on the sunday shows insisting he's not trying to get involved in american politics. >> governor romney, for a year, and he said it in his convention speech, has said, quote, president obama has thrown allies like israel under the bus. do you agree or disagree with governor romney's charge? it's a serious charge. >> well, you're trying to get me into the american election, and i'm not going to do that. >> but last week benjamin netanyahu caused quite the stir when he called for a red line to be set against iran, essentially military action to stop the nuclear program before it
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produces a weapon. i want to bring back nia-malika henderson from "the washington post." bill, i'm going start with you because your name i can get. we know that benjamin netanyahu has known mitt romney for years. you met with the prime minister before. what can you tell us about his general feelings towards the romney campaign? >> well, i don't think he's that close to mitt romney, but he certainly understands american politics, and he knew exactly what he was doing. the risk he is taking is that he is making or could be making israel a partisan issue in the united states. israel has never been a partisan issue. democratic presidents, republican presidents, support for israel has been a nonpartisan cause. if it becomes a partisan cause, that could be dangerous.
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and it's not just netanyahu. it's the democratic party who made that blunder by initially not including jerusalem in its platform. there's a real danger here. >> you are from israel. do you agree? do you think we're looking at israel becoming a partisan issue now in this country? >> that's certainly the hope of republicans. they absolutely hope they can peel off the sliver of jewish voters, but we've been hearing for decades that ju -- christian voters who are supportive of israel, that that's going to be a defining issue. when it comes to the jewish population, they're still overwhelming voting democratic. >> i want to talk about the relationship between the israeli prime minister and president obama. we've been talking about a lot about it over the past two hours, especially. much has been made over president obama saying he could not meet with mr. netanyahu in
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new york. on tuesday, president obama called him. here's ambassador susan rice from this morning. take a listen. >> their schedules don't match. there's no opportunity for them to meet in the u.s. they are friends. when friends need to say something to each other, they pick up the phone and talk. and they talked for an hour. it was a good conversation. it's in the nature of our relationship that these two partners speak to one another regularly. >> is this one of those situations where us in the media are making more out of something than there really is, or is their relationship fairly complex? >> i think it's fairly complex. i mean, this idea that their schedules don't match -- i'm surprised she was able to say that with a straight face. of course, they do -- we know they have had a complicated relationship. obviously, republicans trying to make hay with that and get support among jewish voters, particularly in florida. also, this is an issue that socially lly evangelicals can g
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on to. he didn't do himself any favors by essentially saying that he has the same red line as president obama when it comes to iran and a nuclear threat. >> governor romney trying to turn this thing into a wedge issue. he was on abc on friday. i want to play a clip of what he said and talk about it on the other side. bill, take a listen. >> what is your red line with iran? >> well, my red line is iran may not have a nuclear weapon. iran, as a nuclear nation, is unacceptable. >> president obama said the same thing. he said it's unacceptable. so your red line is the same as his. your red line going forward is the same. >> yes, and recognize that when one says that it's unacceptable to the united states of america, that that mean what is it says. >> what are we seeing here? it really does sound like they're saying the same thing. is the governor going out of his way to try and draw starker
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contrast than there really is? >> yes, i think he is. basically, they are saying the same thing. iran with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable to the united states, period. netanyahu is trying to put pressure on president obama to draw a red line, and it sounded unfortunately like an ultimatum on his part. if you don't draw a red line, israel will feel no moral inhibitions about attacking iran. that sounds like an ultimatum to me. it's a very dangerous thing to do. but romney is trying to make this a partisan issue because he needs the support of those evangelical voters. >> he doesn't even fully have the support of the defense establishment within israel for his saber rattling. i think because president obama has been so vigorous in his support of israel, i think there's a real desire to say, the only thing left on the table
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is he and benjamin netanyahu don't get along. >> how wide is the chasm between netanyahu and the people of israel? >> it's a complicated issue. specifically with regards to iran, it's not clear he has the support of his own intelligence advisers for this attack. he's kind of bringing things to the brink even without the defense establishment behind him. >> all right. we love you guys so much. we want you to stick around. i want to spend some time talking to the brain trust about the macro issue of the middle east at large and what it might mean for politic in this country. we're going to make sense of politics. the protests spreading across the middle east has been quite the target for republicans. is it justified? you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. mom: ready to go to work? ♪ ♪
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as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again. president obama's policy has been confusing. it's been apologetic and misguided. from the day he started his
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apology tour in 2009, he was apologizing for america. >> it's disengagement. prior to 9/11 we had a policy of containment. after 9/11 it was confrontation with the terrorists and al qaeda. now it's disengagement. >> president obama and his foreign policy catching a great deal of criticism in morning on the shows. i want to bring back our panel. thanks for coming back, guys. bill, let me start with you. front page of today's "new york times." u.s. is preparing for a long siege of arab unrest. there's the article. it really lays out how protests in sudan, egypt, libya, all over the arab world could really hurt the president. what do you make of this notion, bill that, the administration failed to address security concerns?
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>> well, i don't think the american people see it that way. they see this as a terrible fraj i did, an unfortunate crisis. they do trust president obama on foreign policy. clearly the expectation that his foreign policy towards the arab world would pay off with better relations has not really worked out. i'm not sure that people blame obama for that or any of his policies for that. the criticism he's getting from republicans is very far fetched that he goes around the world apologizing. there's little evidence of that. >> nia-malika, his foreign policy was something the obama administration had been pushing. he got osama bin laden. he brought the troops back. he laid out a timetable for afghanistan. 39% of people surveyed in the latest poll say they have a lot of confidence in president obama's ability to handle an international crisis. what's the risk, though, of continued mideast unrest eroding that strength? >> i think republicans are hoping they can draw parallels between president carter when he
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stood for re-election in 1980 and this president, essentially saying this is a president who is weak abroad. the problem is that mitt romney hasn't made a case that he can stand in the gap and do anything different. i think his foreign policy advisers said, well, if there was a president romney, then these sorts of attacks wouldn't have happened. i don't think americans buy that. we live in a country where we've seen over the last decade that the middle eastern situation has been very volatile across presidents. obviously, 9/11 happened under george bush's watch. this idea that somehow this is a president who hasn't engaged with terrorists -- i mean, ask osama bin laden if he's been engaged with. ask all of those top al qaeda lead who are have been wiped out because of these drone strikes. many, many more under this president than president bush. i think most americans do think this is a president who's had a robust approach to national security. >> you wanted to jump in there. i could see it in your face.
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>> it's just that every time -- i mean, these foreign policy hands that had their chance and had their time during the bush administration are coming back and saying they would have done it better. they just have zero credibility on this issue. so it's actually -- we saw mitt romney behave in a kind of erratic way this week. really, the only difference between their policy, it actually seems to be a matter of style and a matter of rhetoric. their rhetoric is let's ramp it up, let's bring more testosterone into it. >> your perspective very unique being from israel. how much is u.s. policy to blame for what we are seeing unfold in that region right now? >> that's a very complex question, but what i would say is what's difficult is the u.s. simultaneously needs to engage with the new democracies in that region and also realize they have a limited role, that they can't overnight undo the damage of the fact that the u.s. was propping up corrupt regimes and dictators in the region. there's a lot of mistrust, and you can't change it overnight.
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you certainly can't change it by escalating the rhetoric. >> one of mitt romney's advisers said last week that these protests would not have happened under president romney. here's what george will had to say about that. >> no. the great superstition of american politics concerns presidential power. during a presidential year that reaches an apogee and becomes national narcissism, anything that happens anywhere in the world we caused or could cure with a tweak of presidential rhetoric. >> bill, is it narcissism? >> uh, yeah. he's exactly right about that. we believe the president is in control of the whole world. he's not, although it's sometimes comforting to believe he's in control of events. the fact is he's not. to argue that mitt romney would have done this better -- look, americans are satisfied with president obama's foreign policy for one principle reason. he's a reluctant worrier. most americans are reluctant worriers.
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he will use force. a reluctant worrier is still a worrier. americans agree with that when we're pushed. they don't want to be eager warriors. >> a reluctant warrior. let's talk about a piece we came across in "politico." here's the headline. obama fear driving social conservatives. conservatives who aren't necessarily enthusiastic about mitt romney but have banded together because they really can't stand the. president is that a good enough strategy to win an election, nia-malika? >> no, it's not a good enough strategy. again, you haven't seen romney be able to grow his base of support beyond those social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, southern republicans. you haven't seen him be able to expand to states like ohio, to states like virginia, to african-americans, to latinos. you'll see him out in los
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angeles talking to latinos today, but it hasn't been a consistent strategy, and that's why you see these huge gaps among latinos, among women. that's where this election is going to be won or lost. this idea that all of the sudden an social conservative is very ramped up, well, they were probably going to vote for romney anyway. i just don't think this it idea that their fear and hatred, really, of this president is going to be enough to really carry mitt romney over the top ultimately. he's got to expand, i think. >> do you think that at this point the romney campaign can reach independent voters, that the 17 of them, the undecided 17 who are left in iowa and ohio? >> well, there were reports today he's expanding his range of attacks, that he realizes even though -- there's a piece in buzzfeed. even though the economic numbers aren't promising, they haven't eroded obama's lead. in fact, he's opening up. for a long time i think they
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were hoping the politics of resentment and every angry white man turned out for them and plus potentially people disaffected by the economy would be a win combination, but that's not happening. i think they're going to throw anything at the wall. >> all right. stay right there. don't go too far. when we come back, "saturday night live" kicking off a new season with a new president obama. that guy, by the way, absolutely hilarious. he was trending on twitter last night for a bit. how did he do? we'll show you some clips of that. also, are you ready for the political week ahead? if you're not, fear not. we'll get you there. a brain trust with a sneak peek at the week in politics on the other side of this break. in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco
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our campaign has a secret weapon, and that secret weapon is speaking right now in tulsa, oklahoma. let's take a look.
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>> hello, i'm mitt romney. and i understand the hardships facing ordinary americans. for example, this summer one of my horses failed to medal at the olympics, so i know hardship. >> isn't he great? >> isn't he great? jay pharoah. we are probably going to be seeing and hearing more of him over the next few years. let's bring back the panel. we say senior fellow at third way because we can't get all your other stuff in there, bill. he's a writer. all-around nice guy. thank you, guys, so much for coming back. big week on the campaign trail, bill, for president obama and mitt romney. just to give you an idea of how busy they are, president obama will hit eight cities. paul ryan, half a dozen cities. you've been covering politics for a long time. how big a part of campaigning is sheer physical stamina?
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>> oh, it's an important part of campaigning. they've really got to show that they can keep it up. in this case, they've got to rev up the base. you know, i did this calculation. there are only maybe 5% of the voters who are truly undecided, and only a quarter live in battle ground states. that's probably a couple million. mitt romney could send them all a check. there are very few people who haven't made up their minds. what they're doing is concentrating on rallying the base. >> nia-malika, is this going to be a base election? is it going to be -- get out the vote effort, basically? >> that's right. there are about 5 to 6% of folks who haven't made up their minds. not clear that many of those people will actually show up at the polls. at this point, people that haven't made up their minds, those people might not be engaged actually on election day and show up at the polls. at this point, it is all about turnout. i think one of the challenges that mitt romney has is, again,
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if you look at the way the last republican president was able to win, he won by about 3 million votes. a lot of that, though, was he was expanding. he expanded, president bush did, his share of african-american voters in florida, ohio. shrunk a little bit in virginia. that's the way he was able to win. of course, with latinos, he went from 40% to 44%. i think the big case for mitt romney is if he's able to do that, at least in some part over these next two months. i don't think there are enough of those disaffected white voters in these states to really cobble together enough electoral votes for him to win. >> hey, i was talking to mark murray about two hours ago. $600 million. that's the eye-popping total -- that's the amount that had been spent on ads, mainly in virginia, ohio, and florida. three battle ground states. at what point do people become totally desensitized to political advertisements?
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>> you're betting the hem right now. >> this will probably be my last sunday here on msnbc. really, i think, what point -- >> i understand why people turn off completely. there's a real sense of there's so much negative advertising and so on. for those of us who are paying attention all the time, we maybe become desensitized. any chance to reach them is a good chance. >> you think these things work? >> i think that there's a lot of money behind making sure that they work. i think there's a lot at stake. there's obviously a huge online component that's happening as well. there's a lot of fundraising. there's a lot of e-mail outreach. >> bill, are they as effective as we like to think, or are retail politics still the way to go? >> the ground game is still very important, especially in this kind of election, where base turnout is absolutely crucial. think about all those poor voters in new york and texas and california. they're not seeing any ads. nobody cares about them.
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we know how they're going to vote. mccain got 5 million votes in california last time. it didn't do him a bit of good. the campaign just passes them by. those poor voters. >> they only go to new york and california for big checks. really quickly here, guys, ten seconds to each of you. what's the biggest political story by the end of the week, you think? >> i mean, i think romney makes some sort of move to change and shake up his campaign. lots of hand ringing among republicans. i talked to one who said it will take a miracle for mitt romney to win at this point. by the end of the week, he's got to make some moves, some very noticeable, visible moves to show he's trying to really regain his footing in this campaign. >> bill? >> panic. you're going see panic in the republican ranks over his lagging campaign. you may see -- you're already seeing evidence of it in the romney campaign itself, the way he responded to the tragedy in libya this week. he's going to get advice from all sides. every republican is going to stand up and say, mitt romney should do this and mitt romney
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should do that. >> ten seconds. >> unrest in the islamic world is going to make the biggest difference in terms of whether this foreign policy will continue to be in the front of people's minds. >> all right. thank you so much. always a pleasure. thanks to all of you at home. i'm craig melvin. see you back here again next weekend starting saturday 2:00 p.m. eastern.
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MSNBC Live
MSNBC September 16, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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